In an earlier study on Daniel 7, I had demonstrated that Daniel’s prophecy was a single prediction of end time events. In it Daniel mentioned a persecuting power or authority (the little horn; Daniel 7:8) that arose out of the fourth gentile kingdom, which virtually all Bible students identify as the Roman Empire. Understanding this, and the fact that Matthew 16:27-28 has a foundation in Daniel 7 is devastating to the historical premillennial and the dispensational premillennial positions. This is so, because once one realizes that Jesus coming, in the glory of the Father (Matthew 16:27) and in the Kingdom (verse-28), are one and the same coming, then Jesus’ words: “some standing here shall not taste death” until that coming puts Jesus’ Second Coming in the first century AD.
The question arises, then, what about other points of view of Jesus’ Second Coming. Would their eschatology be enough to take Jesus’ Second Coming out of the first century and place it into our future? In a word, No! But, let’s take a look at amillennialism.
The “A” in amillennialism comes from the Greek where “A” means no, so the amillennialists do not believe in a literal millennium (Revelation 20). Rather, their eschatology rejects the belief that Jesus will literally reign for one thousand years on earth. What they do believe about the thousand years is that it is a symbolic, not a literal, number, and the millennium has already begun and is identical with the current church age. Amillennialism, or “realized millennialism” as some of them prefer to be called, holds that Christ reigns during the millennium / church age, and that reign is spiritual in nature. At the end of the church age, Christ will return in final judgment and establish a permanent reign in the new heaven and new earth.
As can readily be understood from the above, the amillennialists suffer from the same problem as the premillennialists / dispensationalists. They need a gap, a very long (2000 years and counting) gap, between Matthew 16:27-28, but this doesn’t work, as seen in an earlier study. Briefly, Daniel 7 is one, united discourse that must take place in the days of the Roman Empire. Why? Because, the persecuting power (i.e. the little horn), which made war upon and sought to wear out the saints, arose out of the fourth beast of Daniel 7. Virtually all Bible students agree the fourth beast is the Roman Empire. Daniel shows that, during this time his saints are persecuted, the Ancient of Day comes to earth (in the person of the Son of Man, the Messiah) and judges / destroys the persecuting power, and vindicates / rewards his saints. At that very time, i.e. at the coming of the Lord, the Kingdom of God is ushered in and established, and the Kingdom is shown to be the inheritance of the saints.
|Daniel 7||Matthew 16|
|In the days of the Roman Empire||In the days of the Roman Empire|
|Persecutor of the saints (v. 21, 25)||Persecution of the disciples (v.21, 24-25)|
|Coming of the Ancient of Days (v. 22)||Coming of the Lord (v. 27-28)|
|Judgment / Vindication (v. 26-27)||Judgment / Vindication (v. 27)|
|Coming of the Kingdom (v. 22)||Coming of the Kingdom (v. 28)|
|In the days of the Roman Empire||Some shall not taste death (v. 28)|
Once we realize that Matthew 16:27-28 is founded upon the same basic elements found in Daniel 7, then we have no further need for a gap between the coming of the Lord in the glory of the Father (v. 27) and the coming of the Lord in his Kingdom (v. 28). In other words, Matthew 16 is one united discourse (like Daniel 7), and the Second Coming must be found within the generation of Jesus’ listeners, some of whom Jesus promised would see that event (Matthew 16:28)! Therefore, for the very same reason that the premillennial / dispensational interpretation of Matthew 16:27-28 is unacceptable, so too, is the amillennial understanding of that eschatology.